Jefferson’s volleyball team has already conquered two of its preseason goals.
Now it will try for a third.
After winning the sub-area and qualifying for state, the volley Dragons now look to get past the first round of the Class AA/A tournament.
No. 3 seed Jefferson (34-10) will take on no. 2 seed St. Vincent’s Academy (30-17), a Savannah school out of Area 2-AA/A, in the first round Saturday at 6 p.m. in Savannah.
Jefferson's Eden Starnes serves the ball during the recent area tournament.
“That goal is still out there,” coach Mike Paul said. “That’s certainly something we’re going to talk about in practice.”
While the trip to Savannah will be long, that’s what a state tournament is usually about – going out of town to play a big match.
“This makes it feel like a state tournament,” Paul said.
The coach believes his team is prepared for the state tournament, having played 12 teams during the regular season who are now playing in state tournaments throughout the different classifications.
St. Vincent’s entered its area tournament as a no. 1 seed but was upset by the Area 2 no. 2 seed.
The Dragons actually saw St. Vincent’s briefly during the multi-team Conyers tournament earlier, playing simultaneously on opposite courts.
“We got a glimpse of them,” Paul said. “I couldn’t concentrate on them obviously.”
Jefferson advanced to this week’s state tournament by finishing third in the Area 8-AA/A tournament at Athens Academy Saturday.
The Dragons came from behind to beat George Walton (21-25, 25-21, 25-23) to clinch a spot at state and then rallied to beat North Oconee (25-18, 25-23) in the next match. Trailing 16-8 in the first game, Jefferson stormed back to beat the Titans 25-18 behind the serving of by Taylor Cramsey. In the second game, Eden Starnes had the hot hand with six kills as the Dragons put away North Oconee.
In the third match, Jefferson once again faced Prince Avenue, which had beaten the Dragons in three games on Thursday. Paul said his team started out sluggishly in dropping the first game 25-15. Jefferson rebounded with a 25-17 victory in game two before falling 25-18 in game three.
Saturday leaders included Cassie Metcalf (one ace, 25 kills), Amanda Daniel (eight kills, 58 assists), Cramsey (12 aces, 25 kills), Starnes (three aces, 14 kills), Sarah Wood (two aces, 10 kills, six assists) and Savanna Holland (11 kills).
Jefferson began the area tournament by beating Hart County (25-16, 25-20) Oct. 5 before losing to Prince Avenue (25-23, 22-25, 15-25) Oct. 7.
Leaders for the Prince Avenue match were Metcalf (two aces, six kills), Daniel (three aces, nine kills, 17 assists), Cramsey (nine kills, one assist), Starnes (three aces, seven kills, one assist), Wood (two aces, two kills and five assists) and Holland (five kills).
FOUR JHS JUNIORS NAMED ALL-AREA
The four juniors who’ve helped guide Jefferson to a school-record 34 wins now have area-wide recognition.
The Jefferson volleyball team placed four players on the Area 8 A/AA North All-Area team — juniors Taylor Cramsey, Amanda Daniel, Cassie Metcalf and Eden Starnes. Cramsey, Daniel and Metcalf were all first-team selections. Starnes was named to the second team.